Great moment in euphemisms: Employers may pay to push their workers off of health insurance

posted at 2:01 pm on May 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

NPR deploys a rather euphemistic headline to describe a long-predicted consequence of ObamaCare’s employer mandate, which hits this fall for larger employers. The headline, perhaps supplied by partner Kaiser Health News, reads “Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance.” What it actually means is employers may pay more in wage compensation while kicking employees into ObamaCare exchanges:

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a “defined contribution” for employees has been around for years. It’s one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

In fact, it’s been around long enough for ObamaCare critics to point out the obvious incentives to do so within the law. While Barack Obama insisted that people could “keep their plans,” especially those who got them through their workplace, the rapid increase in health-insurance premiums are pushing employers to get out of the health-insurance business.

HHS’ own studies on this suggested that the employer mandate could kick as many as 93 million Americans out of group health insurance and into the individual-plan market — where the cost of taxpayer subsidies would skyrocket. Some of those employers might offer higher wage compensation to make up the difference, but some of them may not. And that bump will be a one-time affair, while escalating costs for health insurance will fall entirely on the worker. That’s why employers will be glad to get rid of this burden.

NPR and Kaiser believe this is the perfect time to make that transition, because the technology is working so darned fantastic:

Now that the Affordable Care Act has made non-company plans more accessible and affordable by creating online marketplaces where people can shop for coverage, the idea is gaining traction.

“The technology has caught up to the concept,” says Paul Fronstin, director of the health research and education program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Really? The price tag for four states’ failed exchanges run to about a half-billion dollars, and that doesn’t take into account what the federal exchange failure has cost. Prior to ObamaCare, insurers had their own web portals for consumers to select plans, and those worked reasonably well (I had to research this early on in my blogging career). The web-portal technology had already caught up with the market, which is why the government failures are such an embarrassment.

And guess what? This new arrangement has some serious tax consequences for workers, too:

If an employer dropped group coverage and instead offered employees $5,000 to buy an individual plan on an exchange, workers would owe income tax on that amount. Employees earning less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (right now that’s $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four) could qualify for tax credits to reduce the cost of their monthly insurance premium, but workers who earn more than that wouldn’t benefit.

Employers may choose the best of both worlds for themselves — a private exchange system which protects them from fines, but dumps employees with the taxable lump sum off of group coverage. This actually isn’t a bad model for free-market reform, but the layers of mandates and costs from ObamaCare makes this choice the worst of both worlds for workers.

NPR seems intent on selling this as a funemployment kind of outcome. I doubt workers will be that cheery about the coming seismic shift as the spin on this article suggests.

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This has been the goal all along…

The extra “compensation” is taxable of course…

mjbrooks3 on May 13, 2014 at 2:05 PM

They’re being considerate because their plans are subpar.

rogerb on May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Plus, if the employers promote too loudly that the “pay raise” is for PlaceboCare insurance bought on the exchanges, that would be illegal as employers are not allowed to directly subsidize any payment to the exchanges.

Steve Eggleston on May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Oh goody!!

Walter L. Newton on May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Free healthcare just got freeer.

Murphy9 on May 13, 2014 at 2:08 PM

The war on the American worker continues.

Happy Nomad on May 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

I would be HAPPY to do this provided:

- we had a free market insurance system, not the government controlled exchanges they’re trying to force feed us.

- I received a tax benefit like employers do – allowing me to pay medical insurance and medical expenses in pre-tax dollars.

LilyBart on May 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The important thing is that all illegal aliens have coverage. If it happens to make life harder for actual citizens, well, too bad, you probably weren’t a democrat voter anyway.

KMC1 on May 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Can’t wait for NPR to drop its healthcare plan.

rbj on May 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Obamacare is awesome!!
-dws

cmsinaz on May 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

All Is Well, Citizens.

Tard on May 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Sorry … either the post or the article itself is BS. There is nothing in ZeroCare that I’ve ever heard of that allows an employer to “pay more” to avoid the mandate (assuming it is ever enforced).

corona79 on May 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Job lock!

Good Lt on May 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

THE PRESIDENT: …
One thing, Jon, you shook your head when I said that people would be able to choose the better plan because the notion was, well, people are mandated. Actually, any insurance that you currently have would be grandfathered in so you could keep it. And so you could decide not to get in the exchange the better plan — I could keep my Acme insurance, just a high-deductible catastrophic plan — I would not be required to get the better one. If I chose to get the better one, it would be 14 to 20 percent cheaper than if I were going into the individual market. I just wanted to clarify that issue.

Full Transcript at WhiteHouse.gov

===

We are bringing Western civilization to its knees by selling private insurance plans on a web site where people pick and choose.”

- Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary

ITguy on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM

I doubt workers will be that cheery about the coming seismic shift as the spin on this article suggests.

They won’t even know until they get caught without insurance when they need it. At which point the Federal Party will be ready with it’s single payer solution.

kcewa on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM

It’s gonna suck, kids. More than it has, more than we know.

Tard on May 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM

The beat goes on. Anytime gummint wants to screw the People in some fashion, it simply changes the definition of past, acceptable terms. Fr’instance, if the EPA wants to steal some farmer’s land, it simply redefines what a ‘wetland’ is. If The One (via BLM) wants to keep all pipelines from goin’ south into Texas, just ‘settle’ the non-existent argument between Ok and Tx ref the red River boundary by expropriating a wide swath of both sides of the river along its entire length. Problem solved. If O’ wants to create a single payer, limited health provider system, just change the definition of ‘Healthcare’. BTW, ‘is’ is still ‘is’.

vnvet on May 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Sorry … either the post or the article itself is BS. There is nothing in ZeroCare that I’ve ever heard of that allows an employer to “pay more” to avoid the mandate (assuming it is ever enforced).

corona79 on May 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Neither this HotAir post nor the NPR post contain the word “avoid”.

Do you not understand the concept of employers dropping health coverage altogether, pushing their employees to get their own individual coverage, with the employer MAYBE paying the employee more in base compensation?

(But maybe not paying employees enough to compensate the their loss of employer coverage, and maybe not paying them anything more at all…)

ITguy on May 13, 2014 at 2:28 PM

There is nothing in ZeroCare that I’ve ever heard of that allows an employer to “pay more” to avoid the mandate (assuming it is ever enforced).

corona79 on May 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

The Mandate itself does that. It allows the employer to pay a “tax” (as per the Supreme Court) rather than cover their employees.

kcewa on May 13, 2014 at 2:28 PM

I would be HAPPY to do this provided:

- we had a free market insurance system, not the government controlled exchanges they’re trying to force feed us.

- I received a tax benefit like employers do – allowing me to pay medical insurance and medical expenses in pre-tax dollars.

LilyBart on May 13, 2014 at 2:13 PM

If we had this, I’d be happy right along with you.

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2014 at 2:28 PM

‘As you can easily see,’ Samuelson said, ‘we’ve been getting better and better. The trend is clear.’ He looked at us expectantly in the dim conference room, his outstretched left hand illuminated by the glare of the projector. Silence, then Irene spoke up: ‘Well, what you’re calling a trend only goes back several weeks. If you went back several quarters the graph would actually show an overall decline with a slight improvement at the end….’

J_Crater on May 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM

I doubt workers will be that cheery about the coming seismic shift as the spin on this article suggests.

They won’t even know until they get caught without insurance when they need it. At which point the Federal Party will be ready with it’s single payer solution.

kcewa on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Single payer solution. The end game. Federal control. Has been from the beginning. On this our political elites agree.

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM

If an employer dropped group coverage and instead offered employees $5,000 to buy an individual plan on an exchange, workers would owe income tax on that amount.

If anyone tries to tell me that was not part of the plan from the beginning, they are a liar.

Johnnyreb on May 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM

The end game. Federal control. Has been from the beginning. On this our political elites agree.

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Single Payer:Central Planning:Federal Power:A Boot Stomping On A Human Face – Forever

kcewa on May 13, 2014 at 2:36 PM

What it actually means is employers may pay more in wage compensation while kicking employees into ObamaCare exchanges

Ed, you were diligent in emphasizing the operative word in that sentence. I took the liberty to BOLD it.

MAY. Not WILL or MUST.

How many may? How many WILL NOT.

I’d be willing to bet that some will but many will not. Why would they? To show their employees that they care? What incentive is there really? With the record unemployment (actual) many employers will just kick the complainers to the curb and hire someone to replace them at a lower wage.

Utopia has been reached.

D-fusit on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Can’t wait for NPR to drop its healthcare plan.

rbj on May 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

..tangential and thoroughly O.T.: Have you ever listened consistently to NPR? I don’t very often (short afternoon commute) but enough to get a representative sample. Point is, is it just me, or do all of their male announcers have a fruity, limp-wristed lisp? (Or is it just the BC engineers cranking in that annoying audio pre-emphasis?)

I swear, when I hear these little girlie-men prance about, I get a visual image of that cocoa-swilling ObamaCare jammie boy with gonads the size of BBs.

The War Planner on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Embrace the suck, now. It’ll be great practice for the future. Ha, I made myself laugh. “The Future…” That’s funny….

NewyoricanInTheSouth on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Yet another example of how obama and the democrats HATE the middle class and want to see them destroyed.

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

For workers at the margin it would better to forego the pay increase to keep the subsidy.

And the the real income ceiling for a family is really about $75k. The kids will eventually leave and their parents would need about that much to break even after they have to pay for insurance.

jerryofva on May 13, 2014 at 2:39 PM

There is nothing in ZeroCare that I’ve ever heard of that allows an employer to “pay more” to avoid the mandate (assuming it is ever enforced).

corona79 on May 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

There has to be the lie that the “raise” is for something other than buying PlaceboCare insurance on the exchanges for the scheme to be legal.

Steve Eggleston on May 13, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Where is lester/everdiso to spin how this is some awesome?

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Yet another example of how obama and the democrats HATE the middle class and want to see them destroyed.

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Joe Biden recently admitted that the middle class was even worse off than before Barky was ordained.

D-fusit on May 13, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Single Payer:Central Planning:Federal Power:A Boot Stomping On A Human Face – Forever

kcewa on May 13, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Utopia!

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Yet another example of how obama and the democrats HATE the middle class and want to see them destroyed.

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Its natural for Leftists to hate the middle class. Its a class that has always been historically pretty much politically and economically independent and not clearly beholding forever to one particular party.

For the overall good of our nation and for social justice and income inequality it MUST be destroyed.

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Where is lester/everdiso to spin how this is some awesome?

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:40 PM

He had to take the puppy he keeps in his windowless van to the vet.

CurtZHP on May 13, 2014 at 2:52 PM

How many workers will take that “raise”and spend it elsewhere?

docflash on May 13, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I actually agree with you right-wing nuckle-draggers on this one. Obamacare needs to go – single-payer is the only fair and workable plan.

Unlike you hicks (who have spent your entire pathetic lives in Alabama or some other backwater state), I’ve spent over 20 years living in EU countries and witness the true fruits of unbridled progressivism.

Socialized medicine has a much, much lower cost for its citizens…in fact, it’s usually free. Admittedly, they do pay a very modest 60% of their income in federal tax, a miniscule 19% value-added tax on items they buy, and pay a very reasonable $9 for a gallon for gas. But it’s an extremely small price to pay when you consider the cost of medical insurance.

Frank Lib on May 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Frank Lib on May 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Heh. I’m really getting to like you, Frank Lib.

Missy on May 13, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Joe Biden recently admitted that the middle class was even worse off than before Barky was ordained.

D-fusit on May 13, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Joe made a mistake.

Obamalinguistics has redefined “middle class” to mean net tax recipients: the recipients of government largesse, especially when referring to the more-or-less means tested programs.

The people we USED to think were the middle class, the net tax payers: people who worked for a living, raised their own families, owned their own businesses, paid their mortgages or made a payroll are now either classified as the Rich™ and should be taxed more or are ignored entirely.

Dolce Far Niente on May 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

I actually agree with you right-wing nuckle-draggers on this one. Obamacare needs to go – single-payer is the only fair and workable plan.

Unlike you hicks (who have spent your entire pathetic lives in Alabama or some other backwater state), I’ve spent over 20 years living in EU countries and witness the true fruits of unbridled progressivism.

Socialized medicine has a much, much lower cost for its citizens…in fact, it’s usually free. Admittedly, they do pay a very modest 60% of their income in federal tax, a miniscule 19% value-added tax on items they buy, and pay a very reasonable $9 for a gallon for gas. But it’s an extremely small price to pay when you consider the cost of medical insurance.

What BS. The UK is the only major country to have a Single Payer system in the EU. All the rest have some form of Romneycare. It is no accident that the UK ranks last in medical care in the core EU group. Even some former Warsaw Pact countries have better medical care.

jerryofva on May 13, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Plus, if the employers promote too loudly that the “pay raise” is for PlaceboCare insurance bought on the exchanges, that would be illegal as employers are not allowed to directly subsidize any payment to the exchanges.
Steve Eggleston on May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Well except of course in the case of our bureaucratic federal employee overlords.. I still can’t believe that we all just rolled over and this complete twisting of the law was allowed to stand in order to accommodate those who wrote that garbage bill and forced it down our throats. The ONLY ones required to follow and pay for it are the ones who didn’t want it! It does not bode well for Americans standing up and fighting the future battles ahead if this small skirmish was just too much for us… And they know it which is why they don’t care how horribly their laws and regulations effect us.

Caseoftheblues on May 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

I discussed this a few days ago on another thread, but this is exactly what I did with my business. There are only 30 employees, so we’re not subject to OCare, but the ACA made our insurance rise significantly nevertheless. So, I told my employees to pick out a bronze plan on the exchange and gave them a raise equal to the cost. The coverage they are getting is worse than they had before and their deductibles are insane, but their choice was keeping their workplace open or managing their own insurance.

I’ve gotta tell ya…they REALLY hate managing their own insurance. I think the reason behind this is that it was something they never worried about before, but now they have to shop around for a policy and anticipate the yearly price increases–something that I was doing for them before. If more people are forced into this situation, the hate for OCare will continue to grow.

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Everyone will eventually be a contractor.

Ruckus_Tom on May 13, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Shouldn’t conservatives be happy to see a separation between employment and insurance? After all, it was progressive/liberal policies (in part: wage controls + untaxed health benefits = spiralling health coverage costs) that got us into the situation where health insurance is so expensive and individuals are divorced from the actual costs of their care.

I don’t know what the solution is, but it seems that this has been a conservative goal. Is it suddenly not one, if it is achieved by a liberal administration?

xNavigator on May 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

This actually isn’t a bad model for free-market reform, but the layers of mandates and costs from ObamaCare makes this choice the worst of both worlds for workers.

There are lot of things in Obamacare that could be viewed from the perspective of “good idea”, but it all comes down to application and implementation.

And Obamacare stinks.

lineholder on May 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Were they a bunch of Obamabots? Did this save you money?

Just asking. I’d be interested in knowing how this would really affect employees if there were no executive delays.

Maddie on May 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Personally this would benefit me, not in the former HSA way – but close enough.

New job BCBS Group plan: $765 per month for family.

Individual Family policy through BCBS (non Exchange): $680

Essentially the same plan, same deductible and same out of pocket. Additionally, all current Dr’s are available on the non work Group plan.

I generally prefer the ability to select what I need and appreciate the company contribution, if available; because its both cheaper with more options.

I may take take some flak – but the key is no longer needing to be underwritten, in the classic sense, with pre-conditions being dropped.

Odie1941 on May 13, 2014 at 3:55 PM

xNavigator on May 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Conservatives support decoupling health insurance from employment with the belief that free-market capitalism principles could help to lower system costs.

Note that I said free-market capitalism, not state-managed capitalism.

And the timing to try to push through this change is really bad. Our economy is soft and has been for a good while. Over 10% of our population is employed in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers have traditionally relied upon the higher reimbursement rates from employer-sponsored health insurance policies to offset the losses they incur from Medicare and Medicaid. This has been part of their payer mix model for years.

Now they are looking at alterations in the payer mix model coupled with increases in demand coupled with increasing business operations costs and higher risks coupled with delays in reimbursements from third party payers due to confusion related to the exchanges….

It just is a bad time all the way around to push this through.

lineholder on May 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

I don’t know what the solution is, but it seems that this has been a conservative goal. Is it suddenly not one, if it is achieved by a liberal administration?

xNavigator on May 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Divorcing health insurance from employment is a fine idea.

Forcing people to buy a product they don’t want, which has features they don’t need, to subsidize others who won’t pay, while ordering doctors to accept reimbursement rates they don’t like, is not.

Maddie on May 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

I discussed this a few days ago on another thread, but this is exactly what I did with my business. There are only 30 employees, so we’re not subject to OCare, but the ACA made our insurance rise significantly nevertheless. So, I told my employees to pick out a bronze plan on the exchange and gave them a raise equal to the cost. The coverage they are getting is worse than they had before and their deductibles are insane, but their choice was keeping their workplace open or managing their own insurance.

I’ve gotta tell ya…they REALLY hate managing their own insurance. I think the reason behind this is that it was something they never worried about before, but now they have to shop around for a policy and anticipate the yearly price increases–something that I was doing for them before. If more people are forced into this situation, the hate for OCare will continue to grow.

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I like your approach – but may I suggest they/you don’t just look at the Exchange rates. Plenty of quality insurance programs that meet the ACA mandate, but aren’t on the exchange; similar to my example above.

I have had company managed and personally managed my family’s insurance, so not a big deal for me; but quite frankly I think the ease is something most people won’t freak out about. And you no longer have to manage your employees insurance, which frees up your “macro” time.

Odie1941 on May 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Were they a bunch of Obamabots? Did this save you money?

Just asking. I’d be interested in knowing how this would really affect employees if there were no executive delays.

Maddie on May 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

No. In this part of NC…almost everyone is conservative. And no. I’m not saving money right now, but I may in the future. I will probably give employees a healthcare raise every couple of years to help cover some of their insurance increases, but this probably won’t be enough to cover everything. PLUS…these people now have to pay additional taxes.

I feel bad for my employees. They work manufacturing furniture and their life does not revolve around their job. They want to come in, get their 7 or 8 hours out of the way, and go home a do the things that interest them. Worrying about insurance is a burden they have not had before.

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Where is lester/everdiso to spin how this is some awesome?

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:40 PM

He had to take the puppy he keeps in his windowless van to the vet.

CurtZHP on May 13, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Actually he was out all night drinking Labatt’s Blue with his new girlfriend. Did you know she works for the Montreal Canadiens?

Del Dolemonte on May 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Shouldn’t conservatives be happy to see a separation between employment and insurance? After all, it was progressive/liberal policies (in part: wage controls + untaxed health benefits = spiralling health coverage costs) that got us into the situation where health insurance is so expensive and individuals are divorced from the actual costs of their care.

I don’t know what the solution is, but it seems that this has been a conservative goal. Is it suddenly not one, if it is achieved by a liberal administration?

xNavigator on May 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

I would be happy with this as long as

markets are free of government meddling

everyone writes a quarterly check to the government so that they can truely know what is being robbed from them.

wifarmboy on May 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM

I like your approach – but may I suggest they/you don’t just look at the Exchange rates. Plenty of quality insurance programs that meet the ACA mandate, but aren’t on the exchange; similar to my example above.

I have had company managed and personally managed my family’s insurance, so not a big deal for me; but quite frankly I think the ease is something most people won’t freak out about. And you no longer have to manage your employees insurance, which frees up your “macro” time.

Odie1941 on May 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Well, to be honest, the only thing keeping their insurance rates somewhat reasonable was being on the company group plan. Most everyone that works for me is over 40 and many smoke, some are overweight, and a few have preexisting conditions such as diabetes. I went the private route to start with and most insurers didn’t want to touch these guys. A few could get good individual policies (and they did), but the exchange was the only way I could get some of the policies. Besides, I chose the bronze plan as a baseline for everyone, so if people figured out how to get insurance cheaper than that–they got an actual raise.

My goal was to spend more time on growing the business and less time being an insurance agent. It’ll definitely be good for small businesses not to worry about insurance any more and I think people paying their own way will take better care of themselves. Having said that, I think people see insurance like they do withholding in their checks. Taxes don’t seem high because they taxes are deducted from each paycheck and they have little idea what they are paying overall. If they ever had to write the IRS a check for their yearly taxes–they’d be breaking out the pitchforks. Insurance has become very similar. Now that they are managing it themselves, they’re more likely to press for action to get their costs down. That’s a double-edged sword though. They may demand more competition or they may push off the responsibility (and worry) off on someone else–namely the government through single-payer.

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

All by communist design.

Disinformation was the purview of the KGB.

obama and his thugs perfected it.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Now that they are managing it themselves, they’re more likely to press for action to get their costs down. That’s a double-edged sword though. They may demand more competition or they may push off the responsibility (and worry) off on someone else–namely the government through single-payer.

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Tell me, how do you do this in the face of federal law that says no one can be denied healthcare?

The only way to reduce the price of something is to reduce the cost of providing it. Forcing some people to pay for the healthcare of others who are not paying results in continuing increasing costs (because people discover they don’t need to pay….the law requires someone else to pay….so they don’t pony up).

Another way is to implement price control. That is what ObamaCare really is. It does nothing to reduce the cost of healthcare. And the “controlled price” is a lot higher than the “awful, low quality” system it is destroying.

BobMbx on May 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

There has to be the lie that the “raise” is for something other than buying PlaceboCare insurance on the exchanges for the scheme to be legal.

Steve Eggleston on May 13, 2014 at 2:39 PM

I’m thinking many employers might just mention that. “Hey, we can’t afford to continue business while providing your healthcare insurance. I would like to give you guys a raise to compensate, but I’m afraid that is against the law.”

The only way to reduce the price of something is to reduce the cost of providing it. Forcing some people to pay for the healthcare of others who are not paying results in continuing increasing costs (because people discover they don’t need to pay….the law requires someone else to pay….so they don’t pony up).

Another way is to implement price control. That is what ObamaCare really is. It does nothing to reduce the cost of healthcare. And the “controlled price” is a lot higher than the “awful, low quality” system it is destroying.
BobMbx on May 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Precisely Bob. Thousands of pages, and NOT ONE thing that does anything to help reduce the cost of delivering healthcare. Instead of say, tort reform, or relaxed interstate rules that promotes innovation and competition, let’s just tax medical devices! Brilliant.

JusDreamin on May 13, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Unicorns!!!

jbspry on May 13, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Tell me, how do you do this in the face of federal law that says no one can be denied healthcare?

BobMbx on May 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

You can’t do it in the face of federal laws. The only upside is that my employees have a more personal stake in things and are much more likely to sound off to their reps. I’m not sure it will make a difference, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

ReaganWasRight on May 13, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Fun times are a-comin’:
Dear member,

Our pharmacies in Southern California may be closed starting May 19, 2014.

The Guild for Professional Pharmacists, which represents 1,400 pharmacists throughout the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region, informed us of a possible work stoppage starting May 19, 2014.

We’re here for you
Our top priority is your safety and care. In case the work stoppage does occur, we want to let you know ahead of time to minimize any inconvenience this may cause. Here’s what you should know:

Our medical facilities will remain open, so your health care and appointments will not be interrupted.
Hospital pharmacies will be open to provide pharmacy services for hospitalized patients.
We have plans set in place to help ensure you can get your prescriptions.
If you have a prescription you need to fill or refill, we encourage you to do so before May 19 (you will still be able to get your prescription on or after that date at other outside pharmacies or by phone or online through our mail-order service).

Rest assured that we will contact you with updates as we get more information. Learn more about filling your prescriptions during this time.

Sincerely,
Kaiser Permanente

OccamsRazor on May 13, 2014 at 7:57 PM